Fieldcraft policy update - Dec 2018



At some time in the early noughties, someone at HQAC got their hands on a copy of PAM2 and ever since has been convinced that it is the be-all and end-all of FT.

What we need is an actual AIR CADET FT syllabus, based on

  • What’s reasonably practicable from a unit, wing and corps point of view
  • What’s interesting and engaging for the cadets
  • What reflects the RAF way of doing things in the real world
  • That is scaleable and progressive

Just copying one part of another organisation’s training manual isn’t going to cut it (although there is nothing wrong with most of the lesson plans - eg it’s decided that “the two-man shelter” is to be taught at a certain level on the syllabus, then the ACF lesson plan is perfectly good for teaching it).

PS - if HQAC is reading this, this does actually reflect a willingness to help with the solution and not just a whinge!


The difference is that although they only have the weekends, they have continuity of staff and cadets across the multiple weekends, it’s a heck of a commitment on both sides, and part of the reason I no longer do it. That’s why it takes two hours to clean a rifle on the first blank weekend with only two mags, and an hour on the last weekend after loads. I just cannot see wings being able to match that.


I think that there IS continuity at Wing, if not more than JL. We will potentially work with/have worked with cadets for Years - which will allow for some great development.


Shortly before the hammer came down, my wing ran an annual FT course with three levels, and given our continuity was one of the few used as a guinea pig for blank firing courses. Annoyingly, we did everything really well and without incident, and it was still banned :frowning:

Will be nice to see it come back.


Cleaning is only part of your time requirement, but wouldn’t it be easier if the students are already prepped and able to clean weapons before they even reach JL?

While I’m sure there will still be a refresher, I suggest that adeptness at using the SBFS, ammunition in the field, simply carrying the weapon (and other aspects that this policy now allows and introduces) will ease the burden and make the JL experience slicker and improve the quality of candidate.

Of course, it will take a little while to get this rolled out widely enough, but I like to think big :wink:


I missed the SPTA Camps by a week :frowning: Sounds like you are volunterring to get the ball rolling!


Theoretically, yes. But only if it was taught well. As we all know, it is easier to teach someone properly from scratch than it is to re-train someone with bad habits.

The same theory could also be applied to the switchover to the L98A2, but we still had a lot of students who had bad habits and poor training.


Well, currently blank and pyro is in the hands of the SATTs, and dry exercises I understand require a SAAI.

Anyone else who wants in will need to have M Qual, to run an exercise you need a proper ECO (not our RAFAC halfway house FECO) plus trained was to safety sup. Add to that is the TSAs take a keen interest in these things. It shouldn’t be difficult to ensure quality.

Having fought so hard over many years to get this far, everyone will be keen to keep their new toys and who they allow to delegate the privilege to.


Can anyone sensible please tell me how this is not Infantry Training?


I think I am not going to comment further on this issue. (I hear the relief in some quarters!) There are a number of people here who are passionate on this subject and they will never see the pitfalls I can see. There is no magic money tree for this or any other Cadet activity. All the equipment may have been bought, but there will be maintenance, service and repair costs. There is no magic ammo box that always fills with blank when you return it to stores. Mumping works for small amounts, but if this has as wide a take up as some here suggest, mumping will not suffice.

If you want an RAF slant on this, I would suggest that most RAF personal (outside of the Regiment) do this kind of activity in training because they have to and then spend most of their service avoiding it as much as they can!!

This will increase the costs to the cadets as they will have to buy the equipment and uniform themselves, reducing the Utilitarian aspect of the Corps. Not every cadet, or Squadron Committee, can afford such luxuries!

Good luck with all these activities, but I still think that this type of Fieldcraft will be restricted to the JL course and others like it, all run by HQAC.
If permission is granted, then I think it will be done in a half way, with a pitiful few cadets getting the “full, immersive experience” suggested by a loud minority in this post, and the rest having to lug around a rifle for a weekend, firing it in a short burst and spending the rest of the time training, taking tests and then cleaning the equipment!


I think this sums up my concerns. I don’t think that will happen because of the issues you suggest about cost, but more due to the training time available to do it well.

We already try to do too much as a Corps, I would gladly lose some of the core activities and gain focus on others.


There are some excellent, organised, Fieldcraft training teams around the Corps. Looking forward to the challenge.



Threaders is correct, with a positive approach it will be a very good thing or the RAF AC to do.


I think we as an organisation need to embrace this. It adds real structure. Especially as a person who as a cadet and member of the SNCO population who wanted to get into field craft it adds a process to learn it.

My only hesitation is it actually rolling out across the corps.


Hmmmm, because if there’s one thing we do as an organisation really well, it’s roll out new policy in a consistent and effective manner…


Thats what i mean im not confident it will. There needs to be an owner for this to be rolled out across the corps


See, you’ve just shown how pitifully ill-informed you are here, because there already blank and pyro events running within the Corps external to JL.

We’re not actually rolling out much which is new. These exercises already run. We have plenty of SQEPs ready and raring to work to implement this and the structures already exist. Wrt the policy there will be a few changes for instructors new and existing, but for the weapons aspect there are already plenty of qualified people both for FT and SAAI - with a decent overlap from my experience - to be able to hit the ground running.

There’s a couple of things being overlooked - this isn’t completely new and the CFAVs it effects are already clued up on much of what they need to be.

The progressive scaling of this will be controlled through wing FCOs, region FCOs, SATTs, and TSAs. Everyone will take an interest in what those below them are doing and wanting to ensure only the right people are allowed to run it. TSAs will be taking a very keen interest and I can guarantee they will be visiting some of the first events at each level under their purview and then periodically thereafter. I’d put money it as I’ve seen them at multiple events, even returning multiple years to the same events run by the same people.

I don’t believe we will have the roll out issues you allude to, the power on this is in the hands of already experienced CFAVs, not HQAC dropping a pile of cack from a height and saying “you must do this new, incomplete thing”.


Such as?


on the topic of “cost” is there a (significant) price difference between live and blank rounds?

I have always been under the impression from a shooting point of view the budget allows for 100 rounds per Cadet per year (or similar figure*).
now we all know that that figure is never reached, barely a scratch is put into it.

In the same way SATT have an allocation of live rounds and B&P so do Units/Wings if only by Xrounds/Cadet.

On the basis this is correct, and I am happy to be corrected, then by allowing Cadets to use B&P is this not “spending” what has already been allocated? Using what we’re entitled too?
If those same Cadets spent a single day on a 25m or even 300m range is that a “waste of money”? I would expect the cost to be higher as the sole purpose would be shooting and so maximum activity would have the rifles in continual use, rather than an accessory to other training - ie they could fire 200 rounds in that day rather than have 60 blank rounds (2 mags) issued for a weekend

*in the same way flying “budgets” each Cadet a flight/gliding experience a year


I find it amazing that something that is more of an ACF activity, regardless of what we might say or think, is looking like (given the excitement) becoming something of a mainstay in the Air Cadets. It would seem that eventually HQAC / RAF are sending out a clear message, they have given up on anything to do with getting powered and non-powered flying up to the levels it should be, as that is in the too bloody difficult box, and are chucking out a few crumbs, which people it seems are lapping up, in lieu of what we should be doing given we are parented by the RAF.

The next thing will be the locations to do these things. Fieldcraft might be a good option if you are located in or near places where there are concentrations of Army training areas. None of the squadrons near to us do much if any fieldcraft, but those closer to the allowed areas do. Which affects our local ACF as much as us and talking to my counterparts there, they aren’t getting the time. One, an old county Major said that their last 2 or 3 camps, which used to be lots of learning followed by an exercise, have become activity camps, due to the lack of availability of training area time. he said to me he was primed to do a long weekend and it got binned 2 days before, because the Army needed the area and accommodation.
So while it would seem many on here are very excited, just because we can, doesn’t mean we will.

What really strikes me is that we could have been doing this properly by now, if DYER had been implemented and the move towards “purple” made. But it looks as if we are going to be doing this our way and the ACF their way, when it would make much, much more sense to just do it one way. But then that wouldn’t mean people at HQAC and elsewhere in the Air Cadets busily reinventing the wheel and chucking out a few files and as I say CFAV in the Air Cadets lapping up these crumbs.

It strikes me as ironic that using pyro etc for so long a no no, is suddenly allowed, none of the risks etc have gone away, but it will be OK as we’ll do a few days of in-house training and it will all be fine, yet we can’t seek our own powered and glider flying opportunities, where the people doing it will be as well trained and experienced as anyone in the Air Cadets. It only takes one cadet to panic with a thunderflash and the house of cards will come tumbling down and fieldcraft will stop dead. Because it may not have happened, doesn’t mean it won’t, who’d have thought we’d get Air Cadets in mid-air collisions?

Before anyone pipes up, if cadets want to do this and the opportunities arise, I won’t be stopping them, just I won’t be anywhere near it. I stopped playing soldiers when I was 11.